China scrambled on Wednesday to provide shelter and prevent disease among five million people made homeless by last week's earthquake, as the number of dead and missing climbed above 74,000.
With hope virtually extinguished of finding more survivors amid the rubble of the devastated towns and villages across mountainous Sichuan province, soldiers and relief workers focused on the desperate plight of those displaced.
Nine days after the 8.0-magnitude quake, the government said the confirmed number of people killed had risen to 41,353. But with another 32,666 confirmed still missing, the death toll is likely to soar.
Stopping disease outbreaks among the five million people displaced in the disaster has become a top concern, and China's health ministry has sent more than 3,500 specialists in epidemic control to Sichuan.
Doctors in the region were also ordered to test all quake survivors who needed medical treatment for a potentially deadly bacterial infection, known as gas gangrene , that has led to 30 people having amputations.